On Memorial Day, veterans gather across the country to remember. Their lives spared, they recall wars fought and won, while honoring those lost in battle. It’s a time of reflection. They survived. But not only that, they live to tell the stories.
I have my own memorial day at the end of each year. With journals in hand I steal away to a quiet place to remember. There’s something about reflection that stirs the soul, feeding and boosting the seed of faith dwelling within.
It’s been a monumental year, bringing the diversity of life and death. Jesus told me this year that death had to come so that life might emerge. He was true to His Word.
I have felt the pruning shears of the Gardener sharply cutting away dead appendages. It was brutal seeing things that still held me captive. Like any ailment, pain leads to the abnormality. Once revealed, the Divine Healer can do His most brilliant work as He breathes His breath of life into what once brought death.
The cry of my heart at the end of 2007 was for new beginnings in 2008. Little did I know that the road would lead me back to maladies in my own soul.
It seems to always come back to that doesn’t it? When we are dissatisfied in our lives, doesn’t it somehow come back to something inside us? I longed for a deeper intimacy with my husband. It’s a good desire. But in the process of longing, the more I experienced the more I pressed for. My desires turned into requests, which when unmet, became failures.
Papa God opened my eyes to see through His. I was sabotaging the most important relationship in my life with my ominous expectations. In my plight for intimacy I imposed standards that carried a hefty weight.
Someone once asked me a brilliant question. “What’s the desire behind the desire?” Love, I wanted to “feel” loved in the deepest places of my soul. What I truly longed for, though I didn’t know it, was the deep, inner sanctuary of intimacy with Christ.
It’s much easier to turn to flesh and blood to meet the longings for love. But unless the depth of love is met in Christ first, it will not manifest anywhere else. Expectations will become demands that dampen the fire of intimacy, bringing accusations of failure.
Jesus heard my cry for love and intimacy. He stirred my heart to long for more and then He invited me into the dance, with Him.
It all began with a longing. He took the lead. I followed. He invited me to conversations with Him in a new and different way. His whispers of tenderness spoken to my heart have settled something deep within. I am fiercely loved by the one who created me, for love.
With each stripping of my dead branches, He has touched me with His love. I will never be the same. There is no relationship on earth that can give me what I so desperately need. The more I expect them to, the more I vandalize them.
I was made in the image of relationship for relationship, but until I can grasp the fullness of love from the one who is love, I will cripple the relationships with expectations that lead to resentment and failure.
In remembrance, this day, I thank Him for the dance He has invited me into. As I have followed I have been transformed. With each step my gaze fixes more on His and the love that is steadfast and immovable. His love conquers all my expectations. He fills me with value, and intimacy. Once I am filled with Him it is then I can offer from His heart to another.
It’s been a hard year. There have been many battles. At times it felt like the hits would take me out. But Jesus.... He carried me. The Holy Spirit comforted me while Papa loved me into the truth that set me free.
On this my memorial day I come to remember. I have made it through the year of battles, loss and death. More importantly, I have found love. Battles have been won. I have survived. Not only have I survived, I now live to tell the stories.
©copyrighted: 2008 Julie L. Todd